Movement decision-making in violence prevention and peace practices

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Studying parallels between movement behaviour and violent actions can help understand interdisciplinary possibilities for prevention, intervention, mediation and post-conflict healing. This article explores the role of unconscious and conscious movement decision-making in violent/peaceful interactions. Thematic analysis of interviews was conducted with trainers in dance/movement peace practices working in fourteen countries. The doctoral research sociologically analysed shared beliefs and a framework that was previously applied to work in schools, expanding its potential for new settings and peace contexts. The framework illustrates five stages of decision-making (Flow/Tension, Attention, Intention, Action and Reflection/Evaluation) based on Warren Lamb’s and Rudolph Laban’s systems of movement analysis. Flow/Tension refers to physiological responses to conflict and the regulation of tension, discomfort and breath. Attention involves the development of spatial awareness and awareness of our immediate environment. The Intention stage fosters the capacity for self-evaluation, assertively addressing needs and mitigating ethical pressure. The Action stage involves understanding impulses, commitment and non-action. Reflection/Evaluation promote reflexivity in practitioners and participants and a dynamic evaluation of peace practices. By analysing contributions of dance/movement to peacebuilding, this article introduces a much-needed focus on the body in conflict and inform interpersonal and intergroup conflict interventions by educators, therapists and peace practitioners of all fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-215
JournalJournal of Peace Education
Issue number2
Early online date6 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • interdisciplilnary
  • embodiment
  • decision-making
  • non-violence
  • movement


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